There are not a lot of women in multifamily real estate.
I am going to give you my take on why this is the case. I think the reason that there aren’t very many women in real estate or rather, in commercial real estate and especially multifamily, is that it’s a good old boys club.
Multifamily real estate is very much a chess game, so not letting your opponent, or people that are employed by you, know your feelings is vital to “winning.” It is important to hold back feelings that would upset the team or make them feel unsure, such as hurt, anger, and fear. You can always display approval, excitement, joy, gratitude, and even personal sadness (family issues). But when it comes to apartment challenges and how they make you feel, you must have the strength to deal with your own feelings on your own time.
We deal with challenges differently.
Women and men act very differently when dealing with issues or challenges that affect them. And when you’re surrounded by people who behave differently in conflict it becomes alienating and discouraging. Men are taught to be tough and to not let feelings show. I think a lot more women wear their heart on their sleeve. Men have feelings too but the way that we deal with our feelings, and display our feelings, are very different.
As a woman, I’ve learned that I cannot sweep the hard feelings under a rug. For me, seeing a therapist, journaling, blogging, meditating, and focusing on calm deep breathing is key. Especially when I notice other people’s reactions are affecting me. It’s important to maintain professionalism and a level head at all times. When I don’t know the answer, I tell others that I need a couple of days to think through the challenge at hand. But it’s important that my team know they can turn to me as a resource. And when I’m struggling to find the path forward, I reach out to my mentors for their insight on the best decision.
Ask for help.
I surround myself with professionals and mentors who serve as a counsel, or board of sorts. I aim to share my feelings and challenges with them, openly and honestly. This is important for both women and men, because they will understand what you’re going through and be able to offer advice that has worked for them in the past.
One of the biggest lessons in multifamily real estate is that this process does not happen successfully without teamwork. This includes the team of people who you lean on for guidance and empowerment, even when they are not financially involved in the deal.
As a single, hard-working female who has been alone for many years pursuing her career and purpose in life, I often have a very hard time accepting help from other people. Part of me feels in adequate for not knowing all the answers. But I take comfort in knowing that none of us has all the answers. Not even those experience individuals who’ve been in the industry for 20 or 30 years. So, I push myself to ask for help when I need it, rather than living on an island.
Dealing with conflict is often a part of our upbringing. In some households, women are more emotional. In my household growing up it was the exact opposite. Some people mistake my ability to separate feelings from what must be done as a masculine trait. For me, it is simply my example growing up of how to behave as a woman. This has helped me to do well in multifamily during moments of uncertainty, stress, doubt, and when people attempt to play on my fears as a woman.
Take care of yourself.
Self-love or self-confidence is an extremely important part of being involved in multifamily real estate. You are involved with thousands of people’s lives, their homes, and having an effect on entire communities. Regardless of if you are a woman or a man, putting in the work to truly understand and love yourself and be able to move forward knowing these things, is critical. Some women avoid this industry because they worry about having a child while being involved with a very stress industry. However, should I choose to have children, I have full confidence in my ability to delegate tasks to the correct people and succeed in anything I choose, with the right support of course.
Remember, when people are telling you something that “should” hold you back or are challenging your strengths that is 100% “their shit” and you do not need to take on their self-doubt and their problems.
Why women can win big in multifamily real estate.
Women have this incredible intuitive ability when it comes to making decisions. If we just love ourselves and listen and believe ourselves, we tend to be better investors, early adopters, and overall less risky decision makers.
If we will take the time to believe in our knowledge, decisions, self-worth, women can be a major asset to any team.
Communicate your wants and needs – no one is a mind reader.
Nothing breaks up partnerships faster than failure to communicate. Women often tend to internalize what they really want instead of expressing it out loud or negotiating. A good negotiator is secure in asking for what they want and asking for more than they think they can even get upfront. A good negotiator understands that both parties need to eat, and understands that everything that we do is a negotiation. If we don’t negotiate resentments tend to build. And no human can read somebody else’s mind.
Being okay with putting in the extra effort to express your wants and needs to your partners is absolutely critical. Of course, it’s important to proceed forward in the most professional manner, putting your negative or hurt feelings aside, taking care of your feelings on your own time, and negotiating to where you want to be.
You are running a business.
Remember, you are running a business. Although “housing” is a part of an apartment complex is not the same as flipping at home, working on a development of one house or part of a subdivision, or many other kinds of real estate investing.
By acting as a business owner, women have a leg up on men because of our intuition. I think we will make less risky investments, and project success for the long-haul will become more apparent.
Cheers to WMFRE! (Women in Multifamily Real Estate) I can’t wait to see more women playing in this arena with me.